It’s a sad fact that almost half – around 42% – of marriages end in divorce. So, how much is a divorce in the UK?
Because, on top of the usually deeply distressing fact that a marriage may be coming to an end, there are also legal costs and processes involved.
Let’s go over all the costs that can be associated with a divorce in the UK:
What Is The Average Cost Of A Divorce In The UK?
It can be helpful to start with a ballpark figure. The average cost of a divorce in the UK is around £14 500.
There’s no need to panic just yet though. That figure can include “lifestyle costs”. It also assumes a “contested” divorce. That is to say, one of the parties feels aggrieved and will not be willing to make the process a smooth one.
This means there is a wide spectrum of total divorce costs. The average cost of a divorce petition that’s uncontested can be relatively modest by comparison. The cost of a contested divorce on top of, say, a need to buy new property will be much higher.
How Much Does A Divorce Cost In The UK If Both Parties Agree?
The vast majority of divorce cases in the UK (as much as 99%) are uncontested. This means both sides agree it’s the right thing to do and want things to progress as smoothly as possible. An uncontested divorce can cost as little as:
- £550 for the Divorce Petition and Decree Absolute
- 225 for a Consent Order
- An average of £450 to £950 in solicitor’s fees
However, those are the costs if you are the petitioner (the person seeking the divorce). If you are the respondent (the other partner in the relationship), then you won’t need to pay for the Divorce Petition or Decree Absolute. Your solicitor’s fees may also be lower.
How Much Does A Contested Divorce Cost?
If no agreement can be reached or the divorce agreement is contested, the courts get involved. As you might imagine, this means the cost of a divorce will become much greater. They will likely include:
- £255 for an adjudication (sometimes called a Financial Remedy Order)
- Potentially as much as £10 000 to £15 000 solicitor’s fees – possibly more if no agreement can be reached and there needs to be a final hearing in front of a judge
- The cost of the final Financial Settlement
The high costs in these cases mean there is a strong motivation for both sides to reach an agreement. There are a couple of processes that can help you do this:
1) Divorce mediation
Divorce meditation is a kind of negotiation. It’s a way to try to balance any dispute between yourself and your former partner with the aid of a professional known as a mediator.
The mediator can walk through key issues like children, property, or money and will almost certainly prove less expensive than going straight into a contested divorce process.
The first Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is always charged for, tending towards a cost of around £100 or less. It’s actually a court requirement that you try out mediation first, so you might consider this as an additional cost of divorce in the UK.
A full round of mediation sessions can cost anywhere from several hundred pounds to £1500. That’s not a small amount. Yet set against several thousand pounds of solicitor’s fees, it’s worth trying first.
That said, it’s always a good idea to get legal advice from a solicitor before entering divorce mediation. Otherwise, the agreement may not hold up, necessitating further costly dispute.
2) Divorce arbitration
Divorce arbitration can be thought of as an alternative to going into contested court proceedings. Like a court case, a third party – a qualified arbitrator rather than a judge in this case – will be making a final decision for you.
The average cost of arbitration is roughly £1500 or perhaps a little more per partner.
How Much Does A Divorce Lawyer Cost?
Specialist divorce lawyers are almost always worth consulting during divorce proceedings at least at one time or another.
Every individual lawyer or law firm charges different fees. Again, ballpark figures might be from £150 to £350 per hour. In London, this might be much higher.
Can I Get Legal Aid To Pay For Divorce Costs?
Legal aid is available for people on low incomes. It can help you pay for the initial divorce mediation session, further mediation, and possibly even solicitor’s fees too.
It’s worth looking into. Because despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of divorces in the UK are uncontested, the costs – and vital aspects of life – associated with it mean that knowing you’re getting the best arrangement is vital for making your future a happy one.
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